CURTIS, William (1746-1799). Flora Londiniensis: containing a history of the plants indigenous to Great Britain ... A new edition, enlarged by George Graves ... and William Jackson Hooker. London: Richard and Arthur Taylor [volumes I-IV] and Richard Taylor [volume V] for George Graves, 1817-1828.
5 volumes, 2° (472 x 286mm). 648 hand-coloured engraved and lithographic plates by Sydenham Edwards, William Kilburn, Pellitier, F. Sansom, James Sowerby, and J. Swan after Edwards, Graves, R.K. Greville, Hooker, Kilburn, and Sowerby, some heightened with gum arabic, some printed in colour. 28 pages of indices bound in at the end of volume V. (Variable spotting and browning, some offsetting from plates onto text, one plate with small stain causing minor loss, some plates trimmed across platemarks, causing minor loss on two.) Contemporary straight-grained green morocco gilt by John Mackenzie, the covers with borders of stylised acorn rolls within triple gilt fillets, board edges and turn-ins ruled in gilt, spines gilt in compartments, lettered in 2, the others decorated with central flower tools surrounded by acorn, floral and other tools, gilt edges, silk markers (covers slightly discoloured).
A FINELY BOUND SET OF GRAVES AND HOOKER'S EXPANDED EDITION OF CURTIS'S 'IMPRESSIVE RECORD OF WILD FLOWERS GROWING WITHIN A TEN-MILE RADIUS OF LONDON' (Hunt 650, -1798 edition). The first edition of Flora Londiniensis was published in two volumes between 1775 and 1798, and contained 432 plates by some of the period's leading botanical artists, depicting the specimens lifesize. However, the work was not a commercial success -- as Blunt states, 'by 1787, the results of [Curtis's] labours were two splendid folio volumes and a deficit which made the continuance of his venture impossible' but when Curtis began to publish his Botanical Magazine, the profits it generated were sufficient to subsidise the completion of the Flora Londiniensis. The present, expanded edition reprinted the plates of the first edition with accompanying text revised by Hooker, adding a further 216 plates with descriptions. The correct number of plates that this edition should contain is unclear, with the more detailed bibliographies calling for some 646; as Henrey states, 'Different copies ... vary in the number of plates although it appears ... that the five volumes may contain a total of 648 plates'. Henrey further distinguishes two issues of the 1817-1828 edition; the first gives the names of George Graves and John Harding as the publishers, while the second, present issue gives the publisher as Graves alone. Arnold Arboretum p.182 (646 plates); BM(NH) I, p.407 (702 plates); Brunet II, 447 (702 plates); Dunthorne 87 (702 plates); Great Flower Books (1990) pp.88-89 (647 plates); Henrey 596 (648 plates); Nissen BBI 440 (702 plates); Pritzel 2005 (702 plates); Stafleu and Cowan 1286 (647 plates). (5)